Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Outrageous Otters

In honor of some special people in my life who love otters, today's blog post is for them (yes you Mow Wow).  Otters are related to weasels, badgers, and wolverines, quite a list of tough relatives.  There are many types of otter including but not limited to, North American river otter, Sea otter, Eurasian otter, and Giant otter.  Most view otters as adorable critters who frolic in the water...  Otters are actually incredibly tough little guys. (click on the video to watch them take on a crocodile, sorry I couldn't find this minus the ads, but the best part starts at 1:00 minute)

Now Sea otters do not have an insulating layer of blubber like other ocean mammals (seals and whales), instead they have very dense fur that traps in air.  They will bob to the surface and blow into their fur to keep it warm.  An otters coat is very dense at 26,000 to 165,000 strands per square centimeter of skin, compare that to humans with 3175 strands per centimeter on their heads.

The Giant otter lives in South America along the Amazon and Panthal rivers.  They live in large colonies lead by a dominant breeding pair.  This otter species is exclusively diurnal, or only active during the day.  Being diurnal indicates that otters have amazing eyesight, in and out of water, and shows they are a sight predator.   Otters on the whole are extremely vocal, with the Giant otter being the most vocal.  Their chirps and barks mean anything from greetings to warnings.  Otters are opportunistic eaters devouring a wide variety of food including fish,  crabs, snakes, and caimen babies.  One commonly eaten fish by Giant otters is even piranha, now that's a tough guy!

Hope you all enjoyed the break from my pet posts, and learned a little more about one of the toughest and cutest critters out there.

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